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Neuroradiology

, Volume 55, Issue 5, pp 585–594 | Cite as

Variations in the origin of the vertebral artery and its level of entry into the transverse foramen diagnosed by CT angiography

  • Akira Uchino
  • Naoko Saito
  • Masahiro Takahashi
  • Yoshitaka Okada
  • Eito Kozawa
  • Naoko Nishi
  • Waka Mizukoshi
  • Reiko Nakajima
  • Yusuke Watanabe
Diagnostic Neuroradiology

Abstract

Introduction

The origin of the vertebral artery (VA) varies, though most VAs enter the transverse foramen (TF) of the sixth cervical vertebra. On computed tomography (CT) angiographic images, we evaluated the prevalence of variations of both VA origin and its level of entry into the TF.

Methods

We retrospectively reviewed CT angiographic images of 2,287 patients obtained using either of two 64-slice multidetector CT scanners. All patients were Japanese and underwent scanning from the aortic arch to the intracranial region; most had or were suspected of having cerebrovascular diseases.

Results

The left VA (LVA) arose from the aorta between the left common carotid artery and left subclavian artery in 94 patients (4.1 %) and in other variations in 44 patients (1.9 %). The right VA (RVA) arose from the extreme proximal segment of the right subclavian artery in 72 patients (3.1 %) and in other variations in 14 patients (0.6 %). The LVA entered the sixth TF in 2,127 patients (93.0 %), and the RVA entered the sixth TF in 2,146 patients (93.8 %). Anomalous origin and anomalous entry level into the TF correlated strongly.

Conclusions

The total prevalence of variation in the origin of the LVA was 6.0 % and of the RVA, 3.8 %. The total prevalence of variation in entry level into the TF was 7.0 % for the LVA and 6.2 % for the RVA. Recognition and reporting of these variations is important in interpreting CT angiography to prevent complications during surgery of the aortic arch or lower neck.

Keywords

Aortic arch Arterial variation CT angiography Transverse foramen Vertebral artery 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We thank Tatsuya Umezawa, R.T. and Itsuki Nagazumi, R.T., for their contribution to CT angiography, and Rosalyn Uhrig, M.A., for editorial assistance in the preparation of this manuscript.

Conflict of interest

We declare that we have no conflict of interest.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Akira Uchino
    • 1
  • Naoko Saito
    • 1
  • Masahiro Takahashi
    • 1
  • Yoshitaka Okada
    • 1
  • Eito Kozawa
    • 1
  • Naoko Nishi
    • 1
  • Waka Mizukoshi
    • 1
  • Reiko Nakajima
    • 1
  • Yusuke Watanabe
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Diagnostic RadiologySaitama Medical University International Medical CenterHidakaJapan

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